Limbaugh Sits Down with Hannity on FNC. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh sat down with Sean Hannity on the latter’s FOX News Channel program last night (10/18) for a freewheeling hour in which the two talked about everything from Limbaugh’s historic success as a radio personality, the radical left’s alleged “mob violence” tactics, the importance of the midterm elections, the Kavanaugh confirmation, Limbaugh’s concern for the future of America, and more.
Dibs Re-Ups with ‘The Game’ in San Francisco. Morning drive personality Dan Dibley signs a long-term deal to continue as a host on the “Joe, Lo & Dibs” show on Entercom sports talker KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game.” Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Gregory Nemitz says, “Dan brings a unique style full of knowledge and humor to ‘95.7 The Game.’ He plays an important role on our morning team and we are excited to keep him around for years to come.” Dibley was part of the first morning show when the station was launched in 2011. He left the station in 2014 and returned the following year. Dibley works with co-hosts Joe Fortenbaugh and Lorenzo Neal.
Former Radio Financial Advice Host Convicted of Fraud. This story is even stranger than so many of the past cases of financial advisers who bilked listeners to their (usually brokered) financial advice talk shows out of their life savings. The backdrop to the case against Dawn Bennett was tinged with allegations of her use of “hoodoo” spells to prevent authorities from catching her. The jurors who convicted Bennett on 17 counts of securities fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud and others did not hear about her attempts to keep investigators silent through the use of a “hold your tongue” spell using cow tongues nor her spending some $800,000 to pay Hindu priests to pray to keep investigators at bay. But it certainly gave the press something to add to its coverage of the case. Bennett was convicted of diverting millions of dollars from investors – both radio listeners and personal friends – to pay for her “lavish lifestyle.” Her weekly “Financial Myth Buster” program was heard on WWRC, Washington.
More Than 500 Attend OAS and WHO, Des Moines Newt Gingrich Event. Pictured above is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on stage before a crowd of 500-plus at the Iowa Historical Building in Des Moines. “An Evening with Newt Gingrich” was presented by iHeartMedia news/talk WHO-AM and Lee Habeeb’s rapidly growing, nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program (heard evenings at 10:00 pm on WHO).
TALKERS News Notes. Two tidbits of news from Chicago from media journalist Robert Feder. First, all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM weekend anchor Regine Schlesinger is stepping away from the station after a 45-year career there. She left her full-time anchor role with the radio news outlet in 2016 and has been handling weekend anchor duties since then. She first joined the station as an anchor and producer in 1973. Also from the Windy City, at urban talk outlet WVON-AM, general manager Melody Spann-Cooper gets some relief from a Cook County Circuit Court judge who issues a stalking no-contact order against a former station account executive whom Spann-Cooper and her husband Pierre Cooper say has been harassing them. She issued a public statement, “This has been a difficult chapter, having to prosecute someone who once had such great potential in our industry. But history has shown that you cannot take threats and intimidation lightly, especially in the workplace. My priority has been and will always be protecting my staff, my family, and myself.”…..A new podcast is launched on the iHeartRadio platform. “Alchemy This,” a new improv comedy podcast hosted by award-winning comedian Kevin Pollak makes its debut. Pollak is the star of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and was named one of the Top 100 Comedians of All Time by Comedy Central. Each episode his team of alchemists will act out bizarre comical scenarios, giving listeners the opportunity to choose the settings/scenes…..SiriusXM is unveiling its new Big Ten Radio channel in cooperation with the Big Ten Network and the Big Ten Conference. Big Ten Radio will feature live play-by-play broadcasts from several Big Ten men’s and women’s sports including football, basketball, baseball, softball and more. The new channel’s programming will feature exclusive new shows hosted by former Big Ten athletes, journalists and conference insiders, including former Ohio State star and 2005 Lombardi Award winner A.J. Hawk; former Illinois All-America offensive lineman Brad Hopkins; former Iowa defensive lineman Anthony Herron; former Penn State basketball player Jon Crispin; former Ohio State tight end Ben Hartsock; as well as Jason Goff, Tom Luginbill, Pete Pistone and Matt Schick…..Also from SiriusXM, the satcaster is presenting a special stand-up show, “Ricky Gervais and Friends: A Work In Progress,” featuring actor and comic Ricky Gervais. It will take place at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College on November 8. “Ricky Gervais Is Deadly Sirius” premiered on the Comedy Greats channel in October 2017 and featured Gervais interviewing an eclectic group of guests, including musician Noel Gallagher and renowned scientist Richard Dawkins. In the second year, Gervais is expected to sit down with Jerry Seinfeld and other celebrities, as well as friends and fellow comedians…..In the Florence-Muscle Shoals, Alabama market, Singing River Group is buying a station group from URBAN Radio Broadcasting that includes news WVNA-AM, rock WVNA-FM, hip hop WMSR, country WLAY, and urban contemporary WMXV. The price has not been announced. George Reed of Media Services Group was the exclusive broker for the transaction.
The Case of Presumed-Dead Saudi Journalist Top News Talk Story for Week of October 15-19. The case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi – presumed murdered for his criticism of the Saudi regime – and the effect on U.S.-Saudi relations, tied with the numerous parties who’ve backed out of attending an investment conference in Saudi Arabia in response was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the November midterm elections and speculation about the 2020 presidential race. Coming in at #3 was Senator Elizabeth Warren’s video revealing her ancestry test results, followed by the Robert Mueller’s expected release of a report on the Trump-Russia investigation at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Radio, Real Estate and Real Life: Former ‘Shock Jock’ Carolyn Fox Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the first female radio personalities to be called a “shock jock,” former New England disc jockey and talk show host Carolyn Fox, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s, Fox was a major personality on a variety of leading radio stations in Boston and Providence with a growing national reputation in the industry. She is a two-time recipient of Billboard’s Radio Personality of the Year award and has been inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame. But when the 21st century rolled around, things began to unravel for Fox in terms of both her career and marriage. Her career sputtering and simultaneously going through a painful divorce, this mother of two decided to make a major change. She packed up and headed to New York where she launched a new career and life as a real estate salesperson in Manhattan. Playing upon her connections in radio, colorful history, and superb communication skills, she forged a dynamic career in the lucrative but highly competitive Manhattan real estate market as a member of the prestigious Corcoran Group’s sales team. Harrison and Fox talk candidly about changes in radio including what it takes to “move on” and explore the fascinating idiosyncrasies of Manhattan real estate. Harrison says, “Let’s not hide from the fact that the shrinking of the radio industry since consolidation has forced thousands of broadcasting pros to reinvent themselves and find new ways to make a living, not to mention keep their heads on straight. I think this conversation provides an enlightening and even inspirational glimpse into that process.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” in the right-hand column of the TALKERS newsletter and on every page on Talkers.com.
Envision Networks Seeks Talent Booker. If you’ve got the talent, we’ve got the cash. Do you have the contacts to book top celebrities for morning radio shows across the U.S.? We’re seeking a highly motivated, freelance, go-get-’em type to book tours with everyone from Hollywood and TV types to classic rock artists and quirky people making headlines or going viral. Good commissions and there’s no limit to the amount of $$ you can make. Please have at least three years of experience as a talent booker. If you have the connections, we want to connect with you. Send a resume along with a list of celebrities you’ve booked in the past to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock programming pro Borna Velic is promoted to program director for Saga Communications’ WHQG, Milwaukee “102.9 The Hog,” taking over for Joe Calgaro, who recently left the station to program Entercom’s rock WAAF, Boston. Velic has been serving as music director and afternoon drive personality (with co-host Mitch Paget). He’ll remain on the afternoon show in his new position. WHQG general manager Annmarie Topel says, “Borna has been a major contributor since he joined us and an integral part of The Hog’s success. He has great music intuition and knowledge of the format, coupled with a solid analytical ability that is essential in programming. It doesn’t hurt that the staff likes and respects him.”…..Farther north at Cumulus Media’s alternative WWWX, Appleton, Wisconsin “96.6 The Fox,” the station brings air personality Max back to host the afternoon drive show, effective Monday (10/22). He’s most recently been serving as operations manager at Case Communications’ triple A WLGE “FM 106.9 The Lodge” and classic hits WQDC “Rewind 97.7” in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. He worked at the Cumulus Appleton station group from 2002 through 2009.
16 More Station Divestitures Named in Entercom SEC Filing – Boston’s News/Talk WRKO, All-News WBZ-AM, and Sports Talk WBZ-FM Being Sold. Which stations will not be part of the new Entercom after its merger with CBS RADIO has been one of the most eagerly awaited radio news stories since the deal was first announced. And now, with Entercom’s SEC filing, we know of 16 more stations – in addition to the three being sold to the Educational Media Foundation – that will go to new owners. When all the deals are consummated, Entercom will realize $264.8 million in proceeds from the divestitures that CEO David Field says will be used to pay down debt and, maybe, buy more stations. No one thought Entercom would be allowed to keep two FM sports talk giants in Boston, so it’s not surprising that WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” is being divested (Entercom will keep its longtime sports talkers WEEI-FM and WEEI-AM “ESPN Radio 850”) along with heritage all-news WBZ-AM and classic rock WZLX. Those are the CBS stations. Entercom will also divest its own news/talk WRKO and urban contemporary WKAF. In the Pacific Northwest, CBS Seattle signals adult hits KJAQ, classic rock KZOK, and sports talk KFNQ-AM are headed for divestiture. Down the coast in San Francisco, Entercom will shuck its own adult contemporary KOIT, urban contemporary KBLX, and classic rock KUFX (San Jose) as well as CBS’ CHR KMVQ. In the Sacramento market, CBS stations country KNCI, adult contemporary KYMX, hot AC KZZO, and sports talk KHTK will go to new owners. The filing does not indicate who the prospective new owners are. What David Field does say is that he still expects the deal to close before the end of the year.
PPM Analysis: All-News. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the first of four analyses of the performances of radio stations based on data from the September 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. Today’s report looks at all-news-formatted stations. As Kinosian notes in the story, all but three of the all-news stations in this report are CBS RADIO-owned properties. The last PPM survey was good to all-news with “three of four stations on this particular news panel up August 2017 – September 2017 (75%); roughly one in five are down (19%) and the remaining 6% remain flat (6+).” Comparing year-over-year ratings, “two of three stations on our eligible all-news sample improve September 2016 – September 2017 (67%, 6+), while one in three shows a decrease (33%).” All-news outlets generally do well in the 6+ ratings and September was no different with seven stations finishing in the top five in their respective markets. One, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, finishing #1. Read the whole report here.
Salem’s KRLA/KTIE Keeps Whitman for Mornings. Morning personality Brian Whitman inks a new contract with Salem Media Group to continue anchoring the morning drive show on news/talk stations KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, Riverside/San Bernardino. The Southern California radio pro has worked at such stations as KABC and the old KLSX-FM. He started with Salem in April of 2012. Currently, Whitman and Jennifer Horn co-host “The Morning Answer” that’s simulcast on the conservative news/talk stations. KRLA program director Chuck Tyler comments, “Brian is a one-of-a-kind talent. I’m thrilled to know that he will be anchoring the ‘Morning Answer’ for years to come.”
TALKERS News Notes. The Virginia-based John Fredericks show begins airing on Salem Media Group’s WWRC, Washington “AM 1260 The Answer” in the 8:00 am to 10:00 am slot, effective Monday (10/16). Fredericks’ program airs live from 6:00 am to 10:00 am and is also heard on WHTK, Hampton Roads; WNTW, Richmond; and WBRG, Lynchburg…..At William Pollack-owned, suburban Chicago talk station WCGO, Evanston, “The Citizen Kelly Show” moves from middays to the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. Show host William J. Kelly made news locally after recently announcing he plans to challenge Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in the 2018 Republican primary race…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc announces that the nationally syndicated travel radio show “Rudy Maxa’s World with the Careys” has added 60 new radio affiliates through the first three quarters of 2017. Robert and Mary Carey say, “We’re truly delighted and thankful for the strong support our program enjoys from network affiliates, leading sponsors and a loyal audience across our various platforms. Our radio program is unlike anything found or heard out there – and it’s rewarding to realize so many people enjoy and respect what we do.”…..Pictured at right is a scene from last Friday’s fundraising event for the Puppy Jake Foundation – a charity founded by WHO, Des Moines afternoon talk host Simon Conway that acquires, raises, and trains service dogs for physically and mentally wounded veterans. Friday’s fourth annual, free sandwich giveaway raised more than $28,500 for the charity.
Trump-Corker Feud, Weinstein Scandal, Iran Nuclear Deal, N. Korea Hacks U.S. War Plans, GOP Tax Plan, California Wildfires, MLB Playoffs, NFL Action/Anthem Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The war of words between President Trump and Senator Bob Corker; the accusations of sexual predation and rape against entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein; the allegations that Iran’s nuclear weapons program has not been halted and President Trump’s indication he will not certify Iran’s compliance; reports that North Korean agents hacked joint U.S.-South Korea military plans involving the North; the GOP’s formulation of its tax reform plan; the deadly California wildfires that have killed at least 17; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and NFL action and the ongoing controversy over national anthem protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Scott Jameson signs a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue as vice president of classic rock and operations manager for its Minneapolis stations and program director for classic rock KQRS. The company’s other music stations in the Twin Cities are active rock KXXR “93X” and classic hip hop trimulcast, WGVX/WRXP/WWWM “105 The Vibe.” Jameson says, “I have a great job in a city I love, a wonderful family and a dream team staff at KQRS who impress and inspire me daily. I’m a very lucky guy. Thanks to all who have helped me along the way. Special thanks to Mike McVay for his motivational leadership.”…..At Cumulus Media’s alternative WNNX, Atlanta “99X,” the original three hosts of “The Morning X” program that aired on the station from 1993 through 2003 are coming back for a special broadcast on October 26 – the station’s alternative format 25th anniversary. Steve Barnes, Leslie Fram and Jimmy Baron will return to the Atlanta airwaves for the first time in more than a decade as part of the station’s celebration. WNNX says listeners can expect a healthy dose of laughter and gags, celebrity interviews and nostalgic banter from the trio, who “ruled Atlanta’s morning airwaves from 1993 to 2003.”…..E.W. Scripps’ country WKTI “94.5 KTI COUNTRY” launches a nationwide search for a superstar country morning show host to fill the slot left vacant by the departure of Jake Kelly. The station notes that most recently, it added Milwaukee icon and Country Radio Hall of Fame host Karen Dalessandro for afternoons. WKTI program director Ryan Wild says, “We’re looking a fun, entertaining morning show that loves country music. To help us complete the job of winning in Milwaukee, the right show will run for office with our listeners every day, and embrace living in Wisconsin. Very few people understand how to be a great local host, we are looking for someone that does!” To apply, visit www.scripps.com/careers. Local radio pro Carol Vonn is handling the morning show until a permanent host is named.
Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees. Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference. The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio superstar. WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech. Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.” The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.” Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone. This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!” Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week. Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke. Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).
iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX. Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him. WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signal covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs. iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming. Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston. We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”
Canada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice. Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains. The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening. As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here. Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.” Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.
Cumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energized by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).
New Course Set at WRKO, Boston. In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step in its evolution. He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society. We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate. I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.” Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales. The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.
Odds & Sods. Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her being arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney. She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston. The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.” He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
NJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs. Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back. He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks. He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks. My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since. I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days. I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth. Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.